Newsletter #1486

News from Alex tonight on some charitable City activities off the pitch, injuries and pseudo injuries, post match reaction to the Arsenal game and more names to cross off the transfer bingo cards.

We also have opinion on the current form and euphoria, more views on the squad and a couple of requests.

After our excellent win over Schalke, bring on the derby.

Next Game: Manchester United, home, 1.30pm Sunday 30 November 2008


General News

Charitable City: Micah Richards took time out of his busy schedule this week to visit the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in Pendlebury. The children’s hospital, which is one of the club’s sponsored charities this year, played host to the England defender as he spent time entertaining the children and their families. Micah told of how humbling the experience was for him: “It was nice to be at the hospital; it is great if you can put a smile on the faces of the kids in what might be a tough time in their lives. Footballers are always keen to put something back and visiting a children’s hospital is always a humbling experience. It was an enjoyable visit for me. It puts life into perspective.” The project manager told of his gratitude to the City academy graduate and the club as a whole: “City have kindly offered to support the outdoor play area at the new hospital and that is an important area for the children to get away from the wards and have a bit of social interaction. The club has a great reputation for working in the community and it is wonderful that they are supporting the new hospital. People in Manchester have big hearts.”

Manchester Shirty: The club is currently auctioning off the commemorative derby day shirts from last season in order to raise funds for the New Children’s Hospital Appeal. The tops, which contained no branding whatsoever but did contain the ‘Manchester Remembers’ logo upon the kit, were not sold for general sale and are only available by way of auction. The shirts worn especially for the 50th anniversary of the Munich tragedy are now up for sale on the website and with all reserves reached, it’s now a matter of highest bid wins.

Beauty of Balance: Having scored the second highest amount of goals this season in the league and with a goal difference that matches that of top four form, there’s a question as to why the Blues are sitting in the bottom half of the table. Simple answer… defending. City have conceded as many as Newcastle (who sit 18th) and despite such a wonderful array of attacking talent now at the club, City captain Richard Dunne believes the key to success will be the balance between attack and defence: “We’ve been praised over the last couple of years for having a good defensive record, but this year it’s been the other way around with us scoring a lot but conceding at the other end. Getting the balance right is difficult, but the way Stephen Ireland and Robinho have been playing has been brilliant. It must be a joy to watch for the fans, but for a defender the joy is in keeping clean sheets and we need to start doing that a lot more than we have. We attack really well, try to get back to defend, but because we have scored so many we have left gaps at the back. We have got the players to defend and we will get better.” The skipper himself has not been afraid of admitting that he himself has been at fault this season: “It’s been very frustrating; it is the worst feeling in the world for a player. Your confidence takes a knock and it’s very deflating, you can worry about it every time the ball comes into the box but you just have to clear your head and get on with it. I’ve been very lucky because the lads and the manager here have been very supportive of me, which has been a big help. In the end it’s down to me and I just have to concentrate on my own game.”

Squad News

Injury Update: It was confirmed earlier in the week that Gelson Fernandes will be out for three weeks following a pull to his hamstring. When giving an update of the squad for the trip to Germany, Hughes stated that Fernandes was pulled out of the Swiss squad during the international period due to injury and apparently the midfielder will play no part in the club’s coming games over the next three weeks. Of Robinho it was assumed he would miss the UEFA Cup tie but that he would be prepared for the derby game on Sunday: “The medical staff will have to have another look at Robinho again. His ankle is swollen after he twisted it during the Arsenal game on Saturday.” Argentinean right back Pablo Zabaleta will also face a late fitness test: “Zabaleta has a sore thigh. He didn’t train yesterday and they are not yet sure if he will make it in time. He is another that they will need to have to look at in the morning.”

Home is Where Hart Was: Watching Joe Hart come off injured at the KC Stadium seemed to set up Kasper Schmeichel for a couple of starts in the coming weeks. Reading the physio’s report on the Monday, which claimed Hart would be out for at least a month and had inevitably been withdrawn from the England squad, looked to confirm the fact that the young goalie was out. The fact that the club received permission from the FA to sign an emergency goalkeeper and then made contact with (and were rejected by) Swedish stopper Marcus Hedman told us all we needed to know about the extent of Hart’s injury. Imagine my surprise then when I was walking into the stadium and heard the announcer call out Hart’s name in the starting eleven. Quite what happened to the Claire Bennet of Manchester City FC (sorry, Heroes reference) and his ‘long term’ injury in the space of seven days I’m not sure but I can’t complain because the man who should be the England number one for South Africa 2010 is back and raring to go for the derby.

Belgian Brilliance: Never mind a box of chocolates for Christmas, if Vincent Kompany can keep up the form of his recent performances over the Christmas period and help the Blues climb the table then I will be more than happy. Whilst the focus has inevitably been upon the return of SWP and the capture of Robinho’s signature, the form of 22 year old Belgian midfielder seems to have gone completely unnoticed. Mark Hughes though feels that to overlook Kompany is a huge mistake that many opponents are making when they travel to Eastlands: “He has had a real impact since he arrived here. He’s quite intense at times, but very focused and a good professional. He wants to be better than he is now, and he is enjoying playing in the Premier League. He had another great game against Arsenal, was very strong and resolute when he needed to be and he’s always looking to free people up in the forward areas.”

Ro-Bus-Inho: Absolutely brilliant. Even as an eighteen year old student who has only ever known football as the money rich sport that it is today, I’m not the biggest fan of the likes of Lampard, Ronaldo and Ashley Cole. The whole celebrity culture that has created ego beyond belief and separated footballers from the fans more than ever has become a joke and it’s exactly the reason that fans were justified in booing the lacklustre effort made in past games at Wembley. Yet in the midst of £100,000 per week wages, £1 million mansions and fifteen cars per player, the star that is Robinho was seen going from the centre of Manchester to the Trafford Centre and back… on a bus! In the same week that the humble mega star was unknowingly filmed sparing time to sign autographs and take photos with fans after the Arsenal game, the Brazilian has proved that for all his money, for all his talent, he’s one of us. The man is a gem and whoever came up with the idea of signing him needs a medal. People talk about Ronaldo as the best player in the world and yet if he scores, the celebration is all about him. His 100th goal, the amount of shots it took him to score, the name on the back of the shirt. Not once has Robinho scored and pointed to the name on his shirt. Every time he circles the stadium pointing at the fans. I can’t speak highly enough of him and even if City go out and buy a team full of stars I doubt even one of them will be as humble and gentlemanly as the first megastar that walked through the gates of CoMS.

Transfer News and Gossip

Kolo Toure: With the Blues’ defence leaking goals left, right and centre, City may be about to take advantage of the disharmony at Arsenal. Following William Gallas’ outspoken comments, there seems to be a lot of unrest in the Emirates’ Camp. Toure has also found himself fall down the pecking order behind Mikael Silvestre and William Gallas and so a £10 million bid may just be enough to pry the Ivory Coast Centre back from Wenger’s side.

Gianluigi Buffon: Again rumours have arisen about the future of Italian goalkeeper Buffon at current club Juventus. When the rumours of a £60 million move were put to the man himself he claimed in jest that: “If a club is willing to pay that much for you, it would be fair to say I will tell the club and my agents to make the deal happen. Juve can go and buy a team full of champions of their own.” Juve manager Claudio Ranieri dismissed reports stating that: “Manchester City’s offer for Buffon? Well, if we wait a bit maybe the number of millions will reach 100. At the end of the season we could even reach 150! No, joking apart, Gigi remains with us.”

Wayne Bridge/Ashley Cole: It seems that the signing of Robinho has left a bitter taste in the mouth for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic, who has been educated at the Real Madrid School of transfers having been reported to have said Chelsea has some form of right to the Brazilian’s signature. In response to City’s megastar move, the Russian Chelsea owner is now refusing to sell Wayne Bridge to the Blues as point of principle. City, who have valued the England left back at £7 million are aware that prices have been hiked since their takeover and that unfortunately Chelsea are one of few clubs who City can’t tempt with the promise of mega money. Other papers have suggested that rather than go for Chelsea’s number two left back, Ashley Cole may make the move up North. Though Cole will be substantially more expensive at £20 million, the Citizens are aware of the buy out clause that Cole has in his contract, which means should he want to leave next summer, he could make the move to City for free – assuming they paid off his clause. Other, more ambitious reports have implied that City may be on the verge of a £60 million bid for England and Chelsea skipper John Terry though the general consensus from the fans so far is that he wouldn’t be welcome.

Colin Kazim-Richards: Five Premier League clubs are currently chasing the signature of Turkish striker Kazim-Richards after his successful spell at Fenerbache, which included an excellent Euro 2008 run. The 22 year old is desperate for a return to England and valued at a mere £4 million; this could be the bargain of the winter. Though the likes of Sunderland, Hull and Spurs are all after the former Sheffield United player, City will be confident that should they choose to make a bid, they’ll be able to out do their rivals.

Post-Match Reaction

Arsenal: I doubt anyone had money on the Blues walking out 3-0 winners against the Champions’ League finalists of two years ago. Performances from the ever consistent Stephen Ireland and the simply brilliant Robinho coupled with a return to form from Richard Dunne and Pablo Zabaleta led the Blues to a convincing and deserved three points. Credit to Hughes, though he continues to adopt an unattractive 4-5-1 style of football, he’d clearly had his boys working on their defensive abilities and it thoroughly paid off. Sparky told the media of how pleased he was with his side: “We had a game plan and we stuck to it. When you go up against Arsenal you have to try to restrict their ability to dictate the tempo of the game, and I think we did that really well in the first half. I am really pleased because what we have lacked on occasions this year was there for all to see, so we are delighted. Irrespective of circumstances purporting to be around Arsenal, you know facing them will be difficult and you have to perform – which is just what we did.” Of the best goal ever seen at CoMS and the scorer’s injury, Hughes said: “When you see Robbie one-on-one with the ‘keeper, you expect him to score. He has fantastic ability and you know that at some point he is likely to produce. He has just gone over on his ankle. It’s one that is initially very sore, it should settle down quickly and we do not anticipate that there will be any long-term damage. We hope he will be OK, if not for Thursday then certainly for the derby.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


The excellent win over Arsenal has brought much joy, as any win over the Gunners is very satisfying, whatever their problems are (their current first team strip makes them look like Charlton Athletic, and they are even starting to play like the Addicks now). In some cases, though, even after such a good result, some people are still moaning about goings on at City! There is much debate about who should be in the team with Mark Hughes’ selection of Darius Vassell a hot topic.

Whilst it’s true to say that a vocal minority got on Vassell’s back last Saturday, there is no evidence to suggest that most people want Elano to play instead of Vassell. Clearly Elano has more flair than the ex-Villa man, but team selection is not that simple, and I guess that most City fans can see that. Besides, Elano doesn’t really relish playing out on the right wing, and it is not his best position. I’d wager that most City fans would like to see a balanced, winning team, i.e. one that can compete physically as well as entertain us with exciting pace and flair. Having seen us get out-muscled by the likes of Wigan and Bolton to mention but two, it’s clear that in some games that we didn’t have the balance right and that is why Vassell’s running power and strength gets him the vote over Elano. Hughes had to guard against Arsenal left back, Gael Clichy, getting forward in support of Samir Nasri, and did so by stationing Vassell out on the right. Would Elano have been able to have shut down that avenue as well as Vassell did? Probably not, and if he had been playing we would quite possibly have had Zabaleta being outnumbered two-to-one on several occasions, which would have left us very vulnerable to clever Arsenal interplay. I don’t think being terrorised by those two would have been very entertaining from a City point of view! Hughes got his tactics spot on, and deserves credit for doing so.

I love watching Elano, he’s a very skilful player and the sort we craved to watch especially in those dark post-Kinkladze days in the 3rd Division, and he most definitely has a rôle to play at City. However, with Robinho, Ireland, and Wright-Phillips playing so well, we already have plenty of flair in the team, and it’s fair to say that those three offer us more than Elano is offering right now. The other positions in midfield need more physicality and running power, hence the election of Kompany and Vassell. If Elano adds more to the defensive side of his game, like Stevie Ireland has done, then he’d probably be in the team. In other words, if he could close down as well as Vassell does, he’d be filling in down the right instead of him. It’s often said that modern football is all about squads and competition. There are so many games: injuries and suspensions happen so Hughes has to rotate his squad at times and Elano will get his chance. For all his considerable talent, there are players of similar ability and better than him who sit on the bench at other Premiership teams (e.g. Javi Alonso), and I hope that he sees that. Elano certainly seems to have accepted his fine for his outburst with good grace and that is much to his credit. Like many, I hope he stays at City and forces his way into the team, but right now, Hughes is right not to start with him regularly, considering the form of others and the required balance in the team. Hughes is right not to pander to any player, because at the end of the day, the club and its well being is more important than any one individual.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


With all our new found wealth and the Robinho transfer to prove it, there was an immediate and very uncomfortable feeling in my system: distrust.

I have no faith at all in people choosing for money, or even making choices where a lot of money is involved. I must say that Robinho is proving me wrong so far, but to be honest, a player with his stature and former club, choosing Man City over Chelsea is just ridiculous. But I hope his reasons are bigger than ‘just’ money and he’s really up for the challenge of bringing City to the top of the table.

Same goes for the next signings obviously. Whoever is brought in in January, they will be pursued with a big bag of money, which will definitely influence any decision made. Not for the better. Choosing money is very understandable, but also hardly wise and/or ‘right’. It has, for instance, thinking a bit smaller here.. in my career always proven wrong. Would Kaka have joined City last year? No, he wouldn’t, so drop his name. If he joins us, it will be for the money and that’s too small a reason.

Even the here in Holland much named transfer target for big and international clubs, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, wouldn’t have thought twice about City, before the Arab take over. Maybe he would now, but no thanks. He would, for instance, be coming in for a weekly salary some of ‘John Terry-like proportions’, while having proven nothing but being a great goal scorer in Holland. Impossible!

My best guess and idea would be to focus on the longer term. Not bringing in world class players now, but bring in world class opportunities and grow them, feed them, train them and in the meanwhile make sure they get something of the club culture with them. The Arsenal way, that is. They haven’t always had the money, but spend a lot less per player than United, Liverpool and Chelsea (and City?). Choose youth, top of the table within five years, instead of one or two, and get character instead of players who are just in to cash and get their independency.

So skip Huntelaar, go get Luis Suarez. Also Ajax, but still a little bit behind on Huntelaar’s development in maturity. Skip Kaka, get Werder’s Diego. Same story. Younger, not as good, but the same potential. And why is nobody talking about defensive signings? I know the forwards are a lot more exciting, but look at the team. Maybe Alex, from Chelsea? Or another youngster, who would need time, but with a very big chance of grabbing momentum: Douglas (another Brazilian), playing with McLaren’s FC Twente. Very talented and still 20 years old.

Anyway, to be honest, I just hope they get where they and we all want them to be, playing for titles, CL, supplying national teams, etc.

Frank Heukels <frank.heukels(at)>


OK ye of little faith let’s see how fickle we all are. I expect there will be articles in this issue of MCIVTA of how great we are after reading weeks of negativity about the manager, players and systems etc.

SWP is supposed to be playing out of position. I thought he had a great game against Arsenal. It was Joe Royle who first played him through the middle so credit Joe for trying it in the first place. He does everything a midfielder should do, and he can dribble at pace and create opportunities. OK he may not win much in the air (although have you seen how high he can jump?) but then Kompany can do the head winning. The argument is should we lose him on the right and have Darius treading water up the wing?

Ireland has always got stick as long as I can remember. Even at last year’s derby win at Old Trafford people were slating him. To me Ireland has always tried things and been inventive. He tries to nutmeg people, feint, dummy passes, feed the ball through the eye of the needle but he always seemed to get crucified for it. He’s a young man still learning his trade and I’m glad it’s working out for him consistently. We need to get behind our young lads who will make mistakes from time to time and might frustrate. There was a lovely scene after Sturridge scored his penalty; Daniel, Shaun, Micah and Stevie huddle and celebrating together: they came from our academy. Having played at Platt Lane as a youngster, training with Alex Williams but never being good enough to play at a decent standard, it is great to see our young academy boys living our dreams.

Let’s get real everyone. We are not going to challenge for the league this season or next. It might take 4 years, 5 years, longer or it might never happen. Let’s not lose sight of our great character and what football fans up and down the country admire us for. I, like everyone else, want success, a cup run to a final or even better winning a final. It’s not going to happen overnight so please can we all be a bit more patient? This is a new team with an average age of early 20’s. We’ve wait so long for a decent team in the top league, a little longer won’t hurt us.

Enjoy the derby, fingers crossed our decent run continues!

Darren Wareing <darren.wareing(at)>


For those (including Ray and Steve in MCIVTA 1485) that don’t seem to understand why Vassell is chosen ahead of Elano, it’s quite simple: Vassell will track back and defend when required, as will SWP and Robinho, Elano won’t. As much as Elano is capable of changing a game in the blink of an eye, he becomes somewhat of a liability when he loses posession as he will just stand there.

He should take the lead from his best friend Robinho who has shown that you can be brilliant in attack but also committed to defend and if Elano shows the same willingness to play for the team rather than for himself then he may find himself back in the team sooner rather than later. The flipside of all of this though is what a player to bring off the bench!

The match against Arsenal showed exactly what Hughes is trying to achieve at City – 11 players who individually are all very good at what they do but who can all play for the team as a team rather than as individuals – and what a performance and a result.

The same against Yoonited please.

Keep the faith.

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


Steve, I admire your ‘Stats’ and your attempt to interpret the situation with Elano at the moment and particularly your excellent attempt to come up with a song.

However, I must disagree with your assessment of Elano in your song. When Sven brought in all the famous ‘8’ last year, no one had heard of any of them but suddenly, we were top of the league.

People were acclaiming Elano as the new, whatever, but I had doubts as his one or two good passes during a game were heavily outweighed by long, long periods of doing nothing.

I was puzzled why there was such hysteria but on it went and the results kept coming in and before we knew it, we were up to Christmas and in a Champions’ League place, still. No one seemed to notice that many of the wins were ‘fragile’ single goal victories, many in the last minute.

In late September and early October, City had two home games against Newcastle and Middlesbrough and Elano made all the headlines with what can only be described as three exceptional goals one of which ought to have won goal of the season such was the venom and accuracy of the shot that beat Shay Given of Newcastle.

During these games, for me, Elano had arrived and we all thought that we had signed a world beater.

Sadly, after that, I saw then what everyone else seems to be noticing recently, that Elano is not worth a shirt.

A player like Elano should be running the midfield by demanding the ball, organizing where he wants everyone, passing balls to colleagues then creating space by moving into a position where he can alter the outcome of games.

If you watch him, he doesn’t do any of those things. He seems to take a pass reluctantly, gets rid, then hides so that he doesn’t have to do any work (believe me, it’s true).

His passing is, at best, amateur. Don’t believe me? Watch him next time he starts. And do please take notice and not just ignore my claims.

Does he organize the middle? No, he doesn’t. Does he create? No. What use is he? To me, no use at all.

If you need an example of what we need, it’s Steven Ireland. Ireland tackles, passes (just as well as any of the Brazilians) moves, supports you name it, he does it. Oh, and he has now found his shooting boots to some tune (remember his misses early on in the season?).

If you think that Elano is a class act, then I’m afraid that you are day dreaming. He never has been and never will be. Was he playing for any of the European giants when we signed him? No? Ever wonder why?

So bravo Steve Kay for your attempt at the song below but I would advise that you make one up for someone who is going to survive at City, Stevey Ireland. Elano’s recent spat with Mark Hughes is just the beginning of the end of his spell at City.

(Sung to the tune “D.I.S.C.O.”)
He is E, he’s Exciting, (Not)
He is L, he’s a Legend, (No chance)
He is A, he’s Amazing, (Amazingly lazy)
He is N, he’s a Natural, (Zzzzzzzzzzzzz)
He is O, O, O. (On his way out)

Geovanni on the other hand was 10 times the player that Elano is. He’s proving that now. When he was given a chance, he never let us down and always gave 100%. He’s proven that since going to Hull. He’s everywhere and performs like a true Brazilian should do.

Typical City, letting this excellent footballer go for nowt.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


The City Supporters’ Club in Perth WA has been running now for around 9 years and in the last twelve months has decided to become more official. We decided to become members of the CSA and are now officially recognised by the club with our memberships growing steadily to over 150. The club is based generally in the northern suburbs of Perth but not confined to this area with plenty of ex-pats involved. We have many functions throughout the year and try to catch up for games when they are aired at a reasonable time and are always looking for new members who need their fix.

The derby will be the first game this season that we have been able to catch up en masse for and is being screened at the Kangaroo Arms at Joondalup Resort with kick off at 22.30, with a few Blues getting in there earlier to wet the whistle. The more the merrier.

We also have our family Christmas Barbecue in Kings Park Sunday 7 Dec with hot-dogs, burgers and soft drinks supplied by the club and a visit from Santa for the kids (still looking for a blue and white Santa outfit). This is in the Synergy area of Kings Park and starts from 11.00 with Santa arriving around 13.30. If you are bringing the children to meet Santa then please supply a wrapped and named present for them up to the value of $20 so we can give them out. All are welcome and look out for plenty of blue shirts and flags. This has been a very popular event before now and given the recent goings on it should get even bigger.

Any more info on the above or the supporters’ club please drop me a line at or call on 0412 958 417.

CTID, Damian Cummins – Chairman, MCFC CSA Perth WA <bluemoon(at)>


Under the management team of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison, Manchester City’s greatest ever team, featuring the likes of Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee won the League Championship, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup-Winners’ Cup. But behind the scenes, tensions were simmering. ‘Big Mal’ was after Joe’s job, his influence was growing ever greater and their relationship was disintegrating. In this riveting new book, Lows, Highs and Balti Pies author Steve Mingle brings this tale of high drama, base comedy, football, friendship and betrayal to life in a way that will fascinate and delight City fans.

The book retails at £9.99 but is available on Amazon at £6.99. The ISBN No is 978-0752447841.


24 November 2008

Wigan Athletic        1 - 0  Everton               18,344

League table to 26 November 2008 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Chelsea         14  3  3  1 13  3  7  0  0 19  1 10  3  1  32   4  28  33
 2 Liverpool       14  5  2  0 11  4  5  1  1 10  4 10  3  1  21   8  13  33
 3 Manchester Utd  13  5  1  0 18  4  2  3  2  7  6  7  4  2  25  10  15  25
 4 Aston Villa     14  3  3  1 10  7  4  0  3 12  9  7  3  4  22  16   6  24
 5 Arsenal         14  4  1  2 14 10  3  1  3 11  8  7  2  5  25  18   7  23
 6 Hull City       14  2  2  3  7 14  4  2  1 14  9  6  4  4  21  23  -2  22
 7 Everton         14  1  3  3  7 12  4  1  2 12 10  5  4  5  19  22  -3  19
 8 Portsmouth      14  3  2  2 10  8  2  2  3  5 12  5  4  5  15  20  -5  19
 9 Fulham          13  5  1  1 10  5  0  2  4  2  6  5  3  5  12  11   1  18
10 Middlesbrough   14  3  1  3  8 12  2  2  3  7  9  5  3  6  15  21  -6  18
11 Manchester City 14  4  0  3 19  8  1  2  4 10 14  5  2  7  29  22   7  17
12 Bolton Wndrs    14  2  2  3  6  7  3  0  4  8  9  5  2  7  14  16  -2  17
13 West Ham United 14  3  1  3 11 11  2  1  4  6 11  5  2  7  17  22  -5  17
14 Stoke City      14  5  0  2 11  9  0  2  5  3 15  5  2  7  14  24 -10  17
15 Wigan Athletic  14  2  2  3  4  8  2  2  3 12 10  4  4  6  16  18  -2  16
16 Tottenham H.    14  3  1  3  7  6  1  2  4 10 14  4  3  7  17  20  -3  15
17 Sunderland      14  2  1  4  6  9  2  2  3  6 11  4  3  7  12  20  -8  15
18 Newcastle Utd   14  3  2  2 11  9  0  3  4  6 13  3  5  6  17  22  -5  14
19 Blackburn R.    14  1  2  4  4 12  2  2  3 10 13  3  4  7  14  25 -11  13
20 West Brom A.    14  2  1  4  8 14  1  1  5  2 11  3  2  9  10  25 -15  11

With thanks to Football 365

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